This is a list of flowering bulbs to plant in your garden in fall. They will bloom after winter, from spring to fall.
For more, also see 25 Flower Seeds to Sow in Fall and 20 Quick-Growing Veggies for Fall and Early Spring.
Choose Your Bloom Times
I’ve listed the bulbs by bloom times (below). This is very handy for garden planning. I love having continuous blooms from spring to fall throughout my garden.
Be sure to consider all growing conditions (soil, water, light) as well as hardiness zone before making your selections.
In cold climates, it’s the flowering bulbs like snowdrops and crocuses that start the show in late winter. Alliums are a top favorite for gorgeous, tall, dome-like flowers in spring and the bees love them. These lawn bulbs offer blankets of blue blooms.
Crocosmia and lilies can be show-stoppers in summer.
I have linked to examples of these bulbs on Amazon.com so you can see what they look like. Please note that some of the products shown are seeds not bulbs. Also, I always recommend you find a local source for purchases like this: find a local seller you like and trust and give them your business.
20 Flowering Bulbs to Plant in Fall
There are 5 basic types of bulbs so you may see these various terms used on the packaging.
• True bulbs (which we just call ‘bulbs’)
• Tuberous roots
Late Winter & Early Spring Flowering Bulbs
• Glory of the Snow Chionodoxa (zone 3, bulb)
• Snowdrop Galanthus (zone 3, bulb)
• Winter Aconite Eranthis (zone 4, tuber)
Spring Flowering Bulbs
• Allium (zone 5, bulb). Bees love them. Deer and rabbits hate them.
• Anemone (zone 4, tuber)
• Corn Lily (zone 6, corm)
• Crocus (zone 7, corm) Get Giant Dutch crocus if you want bigger flowers.
• Crown Imperial Fritillaria (zone 3, bulb). Many animals don’t like the scent of the bulbs and stay away.
• Cyclamen (zone 5, tuber)
• Daffodil Narcissus (zone 4, bulb) . Many daffodils are undesirable to squirrels, deer, and rabbits.
• Hyacinth (zone 3, bulb)
• Peacock Flower Caesalpinia pulcherrima (zone 8, corm)
• Siberian Squill Scilla siberica (zone 3, bulb) – Check if invasive in your area.
• Snowflake Leucojum (zone 4, bulb)
• Star of Bethlehem Ornithogalum (zone 4, bulb)
• Trillium (zone 4, rhizome)
• Tulip (zone 3, bulb)
Summer Flowering Bulbs
• Crocosmia (zone 7, corm)
• Dutch Iris (zone 5, bulb)
• Grape Hyacinth Muscari (zone 4, bulb)
• Iris (zone 4, bulb)
• Lily (zone 4, bulb)
Fall Bulb Planting Tips
It’s bulb planting time.
Before you get started, be sure to check which bulbs are right for your hardiness zone and growing conditions.
Hardiness zones are usually displayed on plant packages, tags, and seed packets to assist your buying decisions.
Find Your Frost Dates & Hardiness Zone
- Plant Hardiness Zones | United States | Canada
These are listed on seed packets and plant tags to guide your choices.
Best Time to Plant Bulbs
When is it Too Late to Plant Bulbs Outdoors?NEW! Click play to hear: Subscribe to our free podcast here: Two Minutes in the Garden
In general, the optimum time to plant bulbs in fall is when the soil temperature is 60°F/16°C or cooler but before first frost.
Many bulbs need 16 to 18 weeks of cold temperatures to produce blooms the following spring or summer.
The ideal winter soil temperature during this time is 35-45°F | 2-8°C. Not that we’re going to check!
That said, check what the instructions on the package say as preferences vary with each bulb type.
If you want to check soil temperatures, use a meat thermometer, and check the soil at planting depth. Measure at different hours of the day over several days to get the average. There is more on checking soil temperatures here.
If you don’t want to take your soil’s temperature, find out your average first frost date and be sure to get them planted at least two weeks earlier.
Grow Bulbs In-Ground or Containers
Bulbs can be planted in the ground or containers. If you use containers, it will take a few extra steps to help mimic the conditions nature provides.
Here in southern Ontario, Canada, I plant bulbs in containers in September and October, and keep them in cold storage (where they cannot freeze) until March or April. In spring, I begin watering the container again and gradually introduce the bulbs to light and outdoor living conditions.
Sadly, the only flowering bulbs they do not like to eat is daffodil Narcissus (zone 4, bulb). To reduce the number of thefts, I plant most of my bulbs in containers and cover them with hardware cloth (lead-free or stainless steel) until the they start to grow in spring.
Want reliable plant information? These are my go-to plant databases for identifying plants, growing tips, invasive species news, and more.
Now go plant some spring blooms!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛